Selmayr: Low expectations for Juncker-Trump talks

Brussels has “low expectations” that next weeks meeting between Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Trump will resolve a growing trade spat, the Commissions most powerful civil servant said Wednesday.

However, Martin Selmayr, the Commissions secretary-general and Junckers former chief of staff, expressed hope that the Washington talks would help deescalate the spiraling tariff dispute.

Selmayr was speaking during a meeting with EU ambassadors, according to three people in the room.

“The hope is to convince Trump that we are close allies, not foes,” one diplomat said, summarizing the briefing.

Selmayr did not reveal what kind of trade offers Juncker would make to Trump, but diplomats said there was a broad understanding that the so-called Sofia proposal — which includes a bilateral trade deal that would scrap all industrial tariffs with the U.S. — would be among the ideas that Juncker would pitch.

Juncker said Wednesday that his “overall approach” to dealing with Trump would be the same as during last months G7 summit in Canada. “I repeated in front of the U.S. president the European arguments, and I will repeat them again and again,” the Commission president told reporters in Brussels.

At Wednesdays meeting, EU ambassadors vowed to “show unity” in the face of Trumps tariff threats and to “not accept any short-term fixes, make no unilateral concessions, and not negotiate under pressure,” two officials said.

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